While most motor vehicle collisions are avoidable, if not preventable, they do happen, and victims of personal injury are permitted to recover financial compensation from their insurance company under Florida’s no-fault insurance law.
As a no-fault state, Florida requires car accident victims to maintain a personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy of $10,000 minimum to cover medical expenses, disability, lost wages, and wrongful death.
While Florida’s complex insurance laws are constantly changing, it is important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities in the event of a collision.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a Florida car accident due to the negligent, reckless, or willful misconduct of another, contact our experienced attorneys at the Shiner Law Group to review your case in a free consultation, as you may be entitled to financial compensation.
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Amendments to the Personal Injury Protection Statute: 14-Day Rule and Emergency Medical Condition Rule
Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) statute allows victims to seek medical attention for their injuries to avoid the delays commonly associated with recovering compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
This policy entitles victims to 80% coverage of their medical costs, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
An amendment to the statute now includes a provision that requires personal injury victims to obtain medical care within 14 days from the incident from hospitals, emergency transport personnel, medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, chiropractors, or dentists.
Claimants who fail to obtain treatment within the 14-day period forfeit their entitlement to PIP benefits.
When you are pursuing financial compensation for an accident caused by another motorist’s negligence, it is important to understand that not all injuries manifest in the immediate aftermath of the collision.
In fact, some injuries can become apparent after several days.
In order for a claimant to receive full PIP benefits (i.e. $10,000 insurance coverage), the personal injury victim must be diagnosed with an emergency medical condition (EMC), which, under the PIP statute, is defined as medical condition: manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:
- Serious jeopardy to the patient’s health;
- Serious impairment to bodily functions;
- Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ.
If a medical examiner finds the claimant’s injuries does not warrant an emergency medical condition, the victim will not be entitled to the full personal injury protection policy.
Unfortunately, the statute fails to identify how medical examiners should classify a patient’s injuries as an EMC.
Delayed Injuries After An Auto Accident
Headaches: Auto Accident victims who suffer from headaches after a week following an accident is a common occurrence. Be sure to seek treatment for any head injuries as they could lead to traumatic brain injuries.
Swollen Muscles: Whiplash can signal torn ligaments, dislocations, and other injuries that may require medical scans.
Back Injuries: Many car accident victims suffer from shoulder pain and lower back pain. Spinal cord and back injuries could result from an injury to the tissue or nerves.
Abdominal Swelling: Symptoms of abdominal pain may also include dark bruising, which may be accompanied by faintness or dizziness. Car accident victims who suffer from abdominal swelling need medical attention, as this could signal internal bleeding.
Numbness: Numbness commonly extends from whiplash injuries, which may result in a loss of feeling in parts of the body affected by the collision.
Emotional Trauma: Victims of car accident injuries may suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which may cause disturbing dreams and flashbacks.
Other signs of emotional trauma may include changes in mood or the capacity to perform a physical activity; however, these symptoms may be caused by a traumatic brain injury.
Hiring A Car Accident Attorney
After any car accident, it is imperative that injured victims seek immediate medical attention within 14 days from the incident, as insurance companies may seek to invalidate your claim by attributing injuries to preexisting medical concerns or downplaying the degree of physical damage sustained.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you quantify your damages and obtain fair compensation.